Asian Champions Trophy: India enter final after comfortable 5-0 win over Japan

Manpreet Singh celebrates after India's goal against Japan in the semifinals of the Asian Champions Trophy. Hockey India

This was India's best match in the tournament, which also included one of the goals of the tournament scored by Sumit.

Craig Fulton's side didn't face much trouble in beating Japan 5-0 in the semifinals of the Asian Champions Trophy at Chennai's Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium. They will now have the chance to win a fourth Asian Champions Trophy title when they take on Malaysia in the final on Saturday.

Akashdeep Singh (19), Harmanpreet Singh (23), Mandeep Singh (30), Sumit (39) and Selvam Karthi (51) were the goal-scorers for India.

India began the match on a strong note, but Japan also did their defending well. They did not allow India to create many chances in the opening quarter, and their goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa pulled off a good save to deny India skipper Harmanpreet.

However, India turned the game around in the second quarter where they scored three goals. The opening goal came via Akashdeep who scored from a rebound after Hardik Singh's initial shot was saved by the Japanese second goalkeeper Takumi Kitagawa. Minutes later, India won a penalty corner and this time Harmanpreet made no mistake in converting the chance. There were at least three players trying to block his line but the Indian captain found the target with a low shot towards the goalkeeper's right.

Just before the half-time break, India tripled their lead through Mandeep Singh after a scintillating run from Manpreet Singh. The former skipper ran through the middle after intercepting the ball and played it on to Mandeep with a perfect pass. Mandeep ensured that he didn't make any mistake in directing the ball inside the goal.

India continued to dominate the proceedings after half-time break, easily exploiting the gaps in the midfield.

In an excellent play involving Sumit and Manpreet, the former received a ball inside the circle and came up with a stunning reverse chip to beat the goalkeeper and score India's fourth goal. Once again, it was Manpreet who started the move and found the right pass, but credit must also go to Sumit for coming up with a sensational finish, a sure shot contender for goal of the tournament.

Tamil Nadu boy Karthi made it 5-0 in India's favour in the fourth quarter. Harmanpreet's long ball found Sukhjeet Singh and the Indian forward played the ball to Karthi who scored from a close range.

Japan was the only team India had not beaten in this tournament, their previous group stage game ending 1-1. Fulton will hope that India's unbeaten run in the tournament continues with yet another victory on Saturday which will also give them the title.

You can relive all the action of the India-Japan encounter right below, on our live blog:

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